Friday, April 16, 2010

Faith healing

Today’s Reading: Acts 14:8-10 NIV

8 In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

Good morning!

In 1975, Jeff and I attended a Kathryn Kuhlman healing service in downtown St. Louis. Kathryn Kuhlman was a well known evangelist and faith healer; she grew up in the Methodist Church at Concordia, Missouri, where she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior at age fourteen. Kuhlman broadcast a weekly television program during the 1960-70s called, I Believe In Miracles. She spent her life traveling around the world, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and praying for healing over the sick and infirm. I was just a teenager when Kuhlman died of complications from open heart surgery in 1976. What we experienced at the revival that night is a memory that will be etched in my mind’s eye forever.

Jeff and I sat together in the nosebleed section of the arena, far removed from the main floor, where hundreds of wheelchairs lined the front rows. There were people lying on stretchers on the floor of the facility; others hobbled in the side doors with the assistance of crutches and canes. Sick children were carried inside the auditorium in the arms of their parents, who were praying and believing that this night would be the night their child would be made whole. The arena was literally packed out; I have no idea how many thousands came that night to see and listen to the tiny red-headed woman speak.

Kuhlman never claimed that she had the power to supernaturally heal anyone. She proclaimed the healing power of Jesus Christ. As she prayed, you could hear a pin drop all over the stadium. I had my head bowed and eyes shut, when I began to hear weeping and shouting coming from the floor. Immediately, my attention was drawn to a man who, for the first time in his life, was able to stand up unassisted from his wheelchair. He had suffered with muscular dystrophy for years. I turned to look at Jeff and saw his first reaction to what had just occurred. We thanked God together for Christ’s healing power as evidenced in this miracle moment. When we left the service later that evening, I wondered why some people were instantaneously healed that night from their infirmities, while many others continued to struggle with physical limitations. It is a question I still ponder today.

Paul saw something extraordinary in the character of the man who had never walked before. The Scripture says that he saw that this man “had faith to be healed.” What kind of faith does it take to believe that God can heal you? Jesus Christ has been given all power and authority to heal our broken and imperfect lives. Our healing was purchased two thousand years ago on Calvary’s tree, when Jesus shed His precious blood to cover our sin. Faith in Christ’s healing power comes through believing His Word. We no longer need to hold out for the evidence of a supernatural physical healing; we hold on to the Lord who does the impossible - for with God, all things are possible.

Paul wrote about his own thorn in his flesh. We do not know whether Paul’s thorn was some physical or emotional adversity, we just know he was suffering with it. Paul prayed three times to the Lord and asked God to remove it. The Lord said no to Paul. God’s answer to Paul may not have been the answer he had hoped for, but it was the one thing he needed to hear. God’s strength becomes our strength in suffering; when we have no other choice but to fully rely on God for our very survival, His supernatural healing is evident and working in and through our lives. Is it then possible to be living out supernatural healing even amid physical pain and suffering? I believe there are no limits to God’s grace, mercy and healing power. My heart resonates today with the words of the author of the Book of Hebrews, who said: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) May all of us learn to recognize Christ’s supernatural healing power evident and at work, not just in amazing physical healings, but also in our own imperfections and adversities, as we dig deep in faith.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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